(StatePoint) For over a year we have been living in a prevention mindset, avoiding coronavirus exposure at all costs. Unfortunately, for many, this new way of life has also meant avoiding healthcare settings and delaying medical care for other serious health threats, including bladder cancer.
Experts warn that bladder cancer, one of the least-discussed types of cancer, often goes undiagnosed. Many people ignore its most common symptoms, and this reality has been intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic. As this often-overlooked cancer becomes more of a focus during Bladder Cancer Awareness Month in May, it will be an opportunity to remind people that cancer doesn’t stop for a pandemic and appropriate healthcare measures must be taken promptly and not delayed.
Bladder Cancer is Common
This year, an estimated 64,280 men and 19,450 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with bladder cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men, and while the disease is less common in women, everyone should speak to their healthcare provider when experiencing signs and symptoms.
The most common sign of bladder cancer is painless but visible blood in the urine. Other common symptoms include:
• Pain during urination
• Frequent urination
• Feeling the need to urinate many times throughout the night
• Feeling the need to urinate but not being able to
• Lower back pain on one side of the body
What to Do When Symptoms Arise
Bladder cancer has a high risk of recurrence, a fact that experts believe may be due to doctors being unable to see—and therefore remove—all of the cancer during surgery. The good news is that there are technology advancements being used during diagnosis and surveillance that can help improve detection and lead to more complete removal of the cancer.
If your healthcare provider or urologist believes you may have bladder cancer, be sure to ask about Blue Light Cystoscopy. In addition to a physical exam and several other tests, the cystoscopy is a standard medical procedure that allows a doctor to look directly into your bladder for suspicious tissue. Historically, cystoscopy has been done under white light. However, now, there’s a procedure called Blue Light Cystoscopy that is becoming more and more available throughout the United States. To learn more and for additional patient resources, visit http://rebrand.ly/Pandemic-BladderCancerBasics.
Remember, if you experience any signs or symptoms of bladder cancer, don’t delay care. Speaking to your healthcare provider as soon as possible can help you get an earlier diagnosis, expand your treatment options and improve your chances of saving your bladder.
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